Fishers Junior High SchoolI am biased about my school; the place is special.  What makes FJH special is the heart that beats in the school.  The staff at our school actually likes being there and it shows throughout the building.  You see it in the cleanliness of the building, the meals that are served, the quality of care from the support staff, to the leadership, and in all the opportunities that are given to our kids.  Many of the clubs and programs in our building are sponsored for little to no money; programs suddenly appear out of a passion to help kids.

I mentioned in my thanks to Brian and Crystal that our staff has a blue-collar mentality; it is one of our defining features.  In fact, the building reminds me of the best places I worked in when I was in the military; there is an esprit de corps normally found in high quality military units.  Even though our building has been on the short-end of the stick in infrastructure (my 14-year-old computer was just replaced this summer; however, the 14-year-old monitor is still there) and redistricting; the building does not wallow, it just moves forward.  While we complain to each other, there is that moment when we just accept it as our reality and just go to work.  That hard work is illustrated every time I enter the building on a weekend or at night and I bump into 2 or 3 others in there “getting ahead” on something for class.  We could hold staff meetings (if we did that kind of things) the week before school with all the staff in the building.

The best part of our building is the community that exists; story after story exists where our staff helped someone in need on our staff; quietly and without fanfare.  We also have a culture where stories connect us to each other; normally the stories revolve around some moment of temporary insanity, but none the less it binds us.  It is the same as those familiar family stories that bring out laughter in the retelling.  Of course, at the 7th grade level, Camp Tecumseh binds us closer; I call it the “Harvey” factor.  The staff loves our time together at Camp and we love the time to interact with our students outside the traditional classroom setting; seeing us square dance with students has a certain impact on our school climate.

Years ago a professor from Indiana State University did a climate survey.   He called our climate the most positive he and his staff had analyzed; we weren’t and aren’t perfect, but we genuinely care for each other and our students and that is a lot.  Every once and while there is a vague job offer that comes my way and I never give it much thought because I know that I teach with the finest folks, led by great leaders, and have a wonderful group of kids every year.

So thank you Fishers Junior High!